child support, DuPage County family law attorneyUnmarried or divorced parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children just as married parents do. Unfortunately, some children are forced to live without the monetary support they need when a parent does not pay his or her court-ordered child support. Illinois courts do not take child support nonpayment lightly. Stern laws have been enacted to enforce child support orders and punish parents who do not pay. If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, read on to learn about your options under Illinois law.

Child Support Is Only Enforceable When It Is Ordered by the Court

If you and your child’s other parent only had a casual agreement that they would pay you a certain amount of money in child support, it is going to be much more complicated for you to collect this payment. Illinois courts can only step in and enforce support obligations when there is a court-authorized, legally-enforceable child support order. Fortunately, there are several ways you can acquire this court order.

If there is a question as to the biological relationship between your child and the other parent, you may need to establish paternity before you can collect child support. This can be done via a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form or by filing for an administrative paternity order either with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services or your local family court. After legal parentage has been established, you will be able to pursue child support.

Child Support Enforcement in Illinois

If you need to file for child support or enforce a current support order, an experienced family law attorney can be a tremendously valuable asset. He or she can help you understand what steps need to be taken in order to apply for child support. You will need to petition the court to either establish child support for the first time or enforce an existing child support order. A parent who refuses to pay court-ordered child support can have his or her wages garnished, tax returns intercepted, a lien placed on his or her property, and can even be charged with a criminal offense in extreme cases.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

If your child’s other parent is not paying his or her fair share of costs related to your child, a DuPage County child support lawyer can help. Contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for sound legal assistance with a wide range of child support, paternity, and family-law related concerns. Schedule your confidential consultation today by calling 630-665-2500.



Posted in Child Support, Lake County family law attorney | Tagged , , , , , |

maintenance, Wheaton divorce lawyersIf you are considering divorce in Illinois, you probably have many questions. One of these may be about whether or not you will be required to pay alimony, or spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is designed to help financially support a lesser-earning spouse after a divorce. While spousal maintenance is awarded less often now than it was in the past, there is still a possibility you will be required to make spousal maintenance payments. Read on to learn about alimony laws in Illinois, as well as how recent federal tax law changes can affect the amount of alimony spouses pay and receive.

Spousal Support Basics

Spousal maintenance, or spousal support, can often be a contentious issue during a divorce. Courts examine many factors when deciding whether or not a spousal maintenance order is appropriate. When making spousal support decisions, Illinois courts typically consider:

  • Any existing premarital or prenuptial agreements between the parties;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • How long the marriage lasted;
  • Each party’s property and income including retirement and disability income;
  • The age and health of each party;
  • Each party’s present and future earning capacity;
  • Contributions each party made to the marriage including contributions made as a homemaker or stay-at-home-parent;
  • Contributions that one spouse made to the advancement of the other spouse’s education or career;
  • How long it will take the party requesting support to gain suitable education, training, and employment;
  • Tax consequences of spousal maintenance options; and
  • Other factors that the court believes are fair and pertinent.

How Recent Changes in Tax Law Affect Spousal Support

Previous to the recent passage of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, spousal maintenance payers were able to claim maintenance payments as a deduction on annual tax returns. The spouse receiving alimony was obligated to report maintenance received as taxable income. Now, spousal maintenance payers do not receive a deduction, and maintenance recipients will no longer report payments as taxable income.

Many worry about the financial implications of this change. The previous tax deduction helped offset the net cost of maintenance payments. Without this deduction, many maintenance payers are subject to higher taxation, which will likely limits the amount of maintenance some payer spouses can afford. Consequently, some recipient spouses may receive much less in maintenance payments each month.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Lawyer

For help with spousal maintenance and other aspects of your Illinois divorce, contact a knowledgeable and experienced DuPage County spousal support attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. To schedule a consultation, call 630-665-2500 and speak to a member of our team today.



Posted in Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , |

property, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf you are considering divorce, you probably have several questions and concerns. One of these may the question of how your property, assets, and debts will be split between you and your spouse. In an Illinois divorce, marital property and debt are divided according to “equitable distribution” laws. Of course, determining exactly what is equitable is not always easy, and many factors go into asset division decisions.

Only Marital Property is Divided

During an Illinois divorce, the only property which is subject to division is marital, or shared property. At first glance, it may seem easy to distinguish marital property from separate, or non-marital property. The marital estate, as it is called, generally includes property acquired during the marriage and separate property includes assets which the spouses owned prior to getting married. However, there are many exceptions to these generalizations. Certain gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage are still considered separate property. However, if separate property is comingled, or mixed, with maritirel property, the funds or property may all be considered marital. For example, if a husband receives an inheritance from a deceased relative during the marriage, this is likely separate property. However, if he then uses these funds to pay for combined expenses, the whole amount may be considered marital property during divorce.

Illinois Divides Property Equitably, Not Necessarily Evenly

Some states divide marital property 50-50 during divorce. However, Illinois takes a different approach. Illinois uses a method called equitable distribution to determine how assets and debt should be divided during a divorce. Many factors are considered by the court in order to determine the most reasonable and fair division of assets. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, including non-financial contributions made by a spouse as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent;
  • Any dissipation (wasting or hiding) of assets;
  • The value of both marital and non-marital property assigned to each spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The employability and financial circumstances of each spouse;
  • Any child support or spousal maintenance (alimony) from prior relationships;
  • Any valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement;
  • The mental and physical health of each spouse;
  • Child custody (allocation of parental responsibility) decisions;
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony) decisions; and
  • Tax consequences of property division.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

For more information about asset division during an Illinois divorce, contact the experienced Wheaton divorce and family law lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. We can work with you to determine the best course of action for your unique circumstances. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a consultation today.



Posted in DIvision of Property, Divorce | Tagged , , , , , |